Unsettled Topics in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Icing EPR2020008
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are an emerging technology with a large variety
of commercial and military applications. In-flight icing occurs during flight in
supercooled clouds or freezing precipitation and is a potential hazard to all
aircraft. In-flight icing on UAVs imposes a major limitation on the operational
envelope. This report describes the unsettled topics related to UAV icing.
First, typical UAV applications and the general hazards of icing are described.
Second, an overview of the special technical characteristics of icing on
autonomous and unmanned aircraft is given. Third, the operational challenges for
flight in icing conditions are discussed. Fourth, technologies for ice
protection that mitigate the icing hazard are introduced. Fifth, the tools and
methods required to understand UAV icing and to develop aircraft with
cold-weather capabilities are presented. Finally, an assessment of the current
and future regulations regarding icing on UAVs is provided.
Icing is a key challenge that the UAV industry needs to address in order to
unlock the full potential of this emerging technology. UAVs must be capable of
safe and reliable operation in a wide range of weather conditions. This report
outlines the most important challenges and gives short- and long-term
recommendations on how to solve UAV icing issues.
NOTE: SAE EDGE™ Research Reports are intended to identify and illuminate key
issues in emerging, but still unsettled, technologies of interest to the
mobility industry. The goal of SAE EDGE™ Research Reports is to stimulate
discussion and work in the hope of promoting and speeding resolution of
identified issues. SAE EDGE™ Research Reports are not intended to resolve the
challenges they identify or close any topic to further scrutiny.